After the tough trip over San Jacinto, the horses deserved a bit of a break, and there was some necessary preparation to be done before the horses head into Oregon and Washington (and Canada!) later on in the journey. Horses that travel between states are required to have a negative Coggins test, which declares them free of equine infectious anemia, and it was also time for their spring vaccinations; in addition, I wanted to have the vet provide health certificates for possible border checks (although these are only good for 30-60 days, depending on the state, so I'll need to get them again later on). I also got my shoer, Joe Vaca, to put a set of borium coated shoes on; the borium helps the shoes last longer, but the increased traction can cause joint problems (similar to a person wearing cleats), so I'm trying not to use them all of the time. However, not having borium means getting new shoes every 3 weeks or so, and that doesn't give the feet time enough to grow between shoeings; I had a problem with that last time around in 2014, so I'll try to strike a balance between borium and regular shoes to hopefully avoid the different complications of each option.
My mom trailered the horses and me out to Silverwood lake on Thursday, where we camped at a horse camp by the lake. Despite calling in advance to ask whether the camp was open--and being reassured that it was--we arrived after dark that evening (after fighting traffic on the 210 and 15 freeways) to find the gates to the campground locked. We had to carry in my gear and lead the horses around the gates, and thank goodness we had brought water containers, because the water supply to the corrals was shut off. In 2014 my mother had stopped by in person before I got here and one of the rangers had gladly opened the gate and turned on the water and unlocked the bathroom (all of which was the reason behind our advance call), but this time we were out of luck. After trying all the bathroom doors, we finally found one that was unlocked (not that I'm unfamiliar with using the outdoors, of course!), and in a nearby picnic area we located a working faucet. We set up my tent and fed the horses, and then my mom headed back home to Topanga, and the horses and I camped out for the night.
In the morning I packed up and hit the trail, and even before we got very far, I could tell it was going to be a hot and sweaty climb south up towards Big Bear. I stopped and let the horses play in the lake before we started heading higher, and Shyla even lay down and rolled in the water to cool off. The trail follows the lake for a while, then makes a long, steady uphill ascent, passing by the hot springs at Deep Creek along the way. There were way too many naked bodies running around to make taking a dip in the springs appealing to me, and we continued on to our camping spot for the night another six miles up the trail at another spot along Deep Creek, which at least is a wonderful water source to have on this part of the PCT, although often it is not easily accessible, especially for horses, with a long, steep bank and boulders between the trail and the water. But for the night we had narrow flat spot near where several other hikers were camping for the evening.